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Founded in 1934 by Masataka Taketsuru, the Yoichi distillery is located 30 miles east of Sapporo. Its underwater spring water is filtered through peat and the distillery continues to use coal-heated, direct-fired stills. Finished for one year in ex-sherry casks, this version is a wonderful example of just how well the Andalusian sherry's influence can flatter this single malt from the island of Hokkaido. Indeed, rather than adulterating the Yoichi's phenolic character, the sherry continually thrusts the peat centre-stage, revealing it in turns to be spicy, fruity, camphoric, salty and even medicinal.
Profile: the ample initial nose is characterized by notes of smoky bacon and salted butter caramel. It evolves into dried fruit, chocolate and strong spices (nutmeg). The assertive attack offers an ethereal peat. The mid-palate is malty, praline and fruity (bramble, strawberry). The rich finish is medicinal (mustard, tiger balm). Yoichi's peaty and saline character is expressed in full.